Man with a Tan

The tanning booth is the antipathy of everything your average bloke stands for – but maybe it’s time for us guys to reconsider…

I read recently that the fashion industry has now officially decreed it ‘de rigeur’ to be ghostly pale. While people far cooler than me may feel white is the new brown, I find few things more unappealing than the sickly white hue that your average British figure has taken on at this time of year. And right now I’m furiously cursing my heritage. In just a few days I’m off to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday in a fabulous house in the Cotswolds. A house with a pool. I’m going to have to take my clothes off and I’m panicking. I’m just about to phone and cancel when my ever-patient wife suggests that perhaps I should book myself in for a spray tan.


A what? While unable to articulate why, the idea completely horrified me! Maybe the association with Essex and vajazzling is just too strong for my insecurities to handle but surely a spray tan is for women, vain men and beauty obsessives? Apologies, Mr Beckham but it just isn’t very manly. However one more sad look in the mirror reminded me that these are desperate times and an appointment was duly made. It quickly became apparent that if you want to have a decent, natural looking tan then you need to prepare – nothing too taxing, but vital if you want to avoid tangerine knees. The night before the treatment I was advised to scrub, exfoliate and indulge in any usual hair removal routine (fortunately my hairy chest was safe otherwise all bets were off). I was to arrive on the day in loose dark clothing, free of moisturiser, aftershave, deodorant or any other product that might mess with the tanning agent. Despite having to work on probably the shabbiest canvas she’s seen in years, the specialist made me feel totally at ease and before long I was loving being pampered. A barrier cream was liberally administered to my elbows, knees and feet (the areas most prone to turning orange) and then, with the required shade of brown selected, I stepped into the magnificent and futuristic shower unit to begin the bronzeification process.


Emerging just 20 minutes later and admiring myself in the mirror, I couldn’t help but smile at the lovely looking creature beaming back at me. The results were fantastic. OK I now had to avoid contact with water or rubbing myself for at least six hours but this was totally worth it. My new healthy glow would last for a week and I hadn’t even had to permanently damage my skin for the pleasure. Even those desperate to tease had to concede (with more than a hint of envy) that my new tan looked natural and healthy. How can something so affordable and easy make such a difference? The next morning I instinctively reached for a white shirt and started making plans for my next session – my pre-holiday routine will never be the same again. So I’m almost ready for that damned pool party. All I need is a cheap, safe 48-hour fix for a beer belly…

Why man fears a spray tan

  • It’s make up
  • It’s for chicks
  • I’ll be tangoed
  • I’ll have to wear paper pants
  • I’ll have to take my clothes off in front of a stranger
  • That stranger will then rub me